For most people who feel stuck in their careers; whether it’s being in a job they don’t like, job applications making little to no progress, or, wanting to switch careers and not knowing where to start, it can seem daunting to want to ask for help. And this can lead one to question their abilities, sense of worth and suffer from imposter syndrome. This is where a Career Coach should come in.
Jobs and careers occupy a big chunk of our lives, so it’s critical that we invest time, and sometimes our resources to figure out what we can’t seem to do on our own, that is impeding us from progressing further, or feeling fulfilled.
So we compiled a list of reasons as to why you need a career coach:
1. Tailor-made solutions – Sure, Google is great, but the articles you’re reading are unlikely offering solutions tailored to your needs, personality, and maybe, current confusion, and they may not define your problem as you’d like. A Career Coach exists exactly for this purpose; to help you define your challenges, provide you with clarity, and help you map out what you want to do. Not only that, but working with a Career Coach provides you with an opportunity to get real-time feedback on the progress of action steps agreed upon.
2. Increased self-awareness – Because Career Coaches use a variety of tools to assess your needs and help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, interests, goals and so much more, the result is an increased awareness of self, which enables one to make informed decisions about their jobs and careers.
3. Improved accountability – Because life can get really busy, or, procrastination can get in the way of progress, a Career Coach helps you to become more accountable to yourself. With agreed-upon action plans, whether it’s revising your CV, creating an elevator pitch, looking for volunteering opportunities to transition careers, and so forth, it’s hard to avoid accountability when you’re investing to improve your current situation.
4. Honest feedback – Most of us ask for career advice from family, and friends because it’s easier and cheaper to do so. A career coach tells you what you NEED to hear. A friend may look at your CV and tell you it’s great, a career coach will look at it, and point out 10 mistakes. Why? Because that’s their expertise, and their opinions are not biased; their role is to point out your inconsistency, dismantle some of the myths you may have about jobs and careers, and pretty much give you a reality check of what needs to be done. Who wouldn’t want that?
5. Build confidence – Unless you were not intentionally invested in your career coaching sessions, it’s hard to not build up your confidence as a result. One of the key roles career coaching plays is to identify some of the fears you have around pursuing your goals and providing you with the information and tools to conquer them and help you get out of that comfort zone. Career coaching helps you introspect, ask yourself difficult questions, and face some of your fears that bar you from achieving your potential.
Have you worked with a Career Coach before? What was your experience?
If not, at edge, we have a number of Career Coaching Programs that aim to answer some of your most pressing career queries and provide you with the tools to navigate these challenges. In fact, We’re currently offering 10 scholarships to 10 lucky people, for our Career Accelerator Program. Sign up here http://bit.ly/careertransformation_signup and tell a friend to tell a friend!
Get a sneak peek our career coaching by watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvRnyw8_D7Q
Have you ever wondered if the reason you get regrets after interviews may be because you’re utilizing WRONG advice about how you should conduct yourself in interviews?
A lot of us have been exposed to different tips from different people about different areas in our lives, most, of course, have the best intentions. However, it’s critical that one has a sense of discernment when it comes to certain things; job interviews are one of them. Because let’s be honest; job interviews are a GREAT determining factor of whether or not you get employed at the organization you applied for.
So here are 3 misleading “tips” told about job interviews:
1. You should not reveal your weaknesses to the interviewer/turn your weaknesses into strengths – *insert beep sound*. No one is perfect. A recruiter/hiring manager NEEDS to be aware of what learning opportunities they should create for their potential future employee. Otherwise, you’re exposed to the risk of them finding out later when you do work that is subpar that may lead to your termination. HONESTY is always the best policy.
2. Your responses should be “short” – Yes, interviewers don’t want you to go on and on about your life history. What they are looking for is concision; they want to hear ALL relevant details about how your past experiences relate to the job you applied for, why you’re motivated to join the organization, and what makes you a good culture fit, among other things. Giving very brief responses may seem like a good thing but it hurts your chances because it leaves the interviewer/hiring manager with little information to make an informed decision about your profile. We like to recommend using the STAR method as it ensures an interviewee answers questions systematically.
3. Don’t ask questions as that shows you were not prepared – We can’t count the number of times we have asked candidates during interviews if they have questions and received a “not at the moment” response. We’ll be blunt; not asking ANY question at all is not a good thing, and NO, interviewers don’t think you’re not “prepared” if you ask questions. Here’s an article that bluntly explains why it’s important to ask questions and the do’s and don’ts!
If you would like to learn more about how to prepare for an interview, please read this article we wrote last year about how to get ready to succeed in an interview.
Our Career Happiness Center contains all the tools and information you need to address some of the career challenges you may be facing; job hunting, packaging yourself, transitioning careers, and succeeding where you are!
First and foremost, Happy New Year! 2020 has been dubbed as 20plenty, and we don’t know about you, but here at edge, this is the year we’re manifesting our visions, so please, get on board!
Now, we all know that a new year is seen as an opportunity to start on a clean slate and making new year resolutions is a part of that. Some people prefer to make goals, instead of resolutions. Whatever term you decide on, having career resolutions or goals should be included in your list.
If you haven’t already, please read our article containing 8 questions you need to ask yourself before the year ends as you do last year’s career reflections before proceeding to read the rest of the article.
To guide you, we will outline below 5 introspective questions you should ask yourself when making these goals/resolutions:
1. What distractions hindered me from achieving my career goals last year, and how can I change that this year? Think about what you wanted to achieve in your career last year. What are the small, and even big things that prevented you from taking the required action to get there? Was it spending too much time on your phone? Going out too much, thus not finding time to update your resume? Were you clouded with self-doubt? Whatever the reason may be, note them all down and think about how you’ll get rid of some of these distractions that are not serving you.
2. What new skills and knowledge do I want to acquire this year? If you’ve been employed for a while, think about the next level you want to achieve in your job, or career. Even if you’re thinking of switching careers; what are the required skills and knowledge that will propel you to get there? Research online and by asking industry experts what you need to do. There are plenty of virtual courses online that you can utilize as a start, volunteering on weekends and so much more. If you just entered the job market or are job hunting, now is a good time to identify your strengths and figure out what contribution you want to add to an organization, or even start your own venture. Tools such as the 16 personalities test or the Sparketype to help you develop self-awareness that is useful in identifying what areas you’re good at.
3. What changes do I need to implement to improve my current situation? Admittedly, this could cover a wide range of things. Are you employed but looking for a new job? Are you in a hostile work environment and want out? Looking to transition into a different career? Wanting to get promoted this year? Whatever the case, none of these things can happen if you don’t intentionally put in the work to make these changes happen. Don’t just sit around and hope that something “comes up”. Hope is not a strategy. Solutions may range from; customizing your CV to fit different jobs you apply for, working with a career coach to help you identify what career path you want, reading up on what makes a good job application, updating your LinkedIn profile, and reaching out to recruiters for help; read our article on the right way to ask for help when job hunting and what not to do as a guide. As always, Google is your friend, you may be one search away from transforming your life!
4. What am I most afraid of? Aaah, fear; the biggest enemy of progress. In 2020, we’d like to call upon you to befriend your fear. Have you been in a comfort zone for far too long? Do you feel like you’re in survival mode? I think we can all agree that that is not an ideal way to live. Are you afraid of asking for a promotion? Leaving a job that you don’t like because it feels familiar and change is daunting? There’s a saying that goes; “Change begins at the end of your comfort zone”. If you’re not sure what it is that you’re afraid of, please consider working with a career coach who will help you articulate your fears and help you make the right steps to transform your career.
5. When I look back at 2020 in January of 2021, what are the things I should be proud of? If you’ve been able to address the above questions, it should be easier to come up with milestones you want to achieve in 2020. List them all down, and come up with a way you want to track your progress. And if you hit a milestone, reward yourself.
We hope you found the above questions useful. We have plenty of resources on our Career Happiness Center that you can refer to when making your 2020career goals and resolutions. Please dive in. If you need additional assistance to get you out of a career rut, reach out to us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ho ho ho! Tis’ the season to reflect on your career!
The festive season is upon us, and as you take the time to plan for the end of year vacations, we’d like to urge you to consider doing the same for your career. How do you feel about the progress you have made towards your long term career aspirations this year? What shifts should you be making in 2020?
Undergoing a career self-evaluation allows you to track the progress you’ve made, and identify opportunities to tap into, for your growth.
To kick you off, grab some warm chocolate and muffins and indulge in these reflective questions. Alternatively, you could consider taking our newly launched Career Happiness Assessment Tool.
- What is the proudest career goal I achieved this year?
Look back at the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Did you want to get a new job? To get promoted? To switch careers? To start your own business? Learn a new skill? Expand your network? Whatever it was; evaluate what steps you took to achieve them, and progress made. If you did not take any steps to achieve any of the goals, ask yourself why this is the case and come up with a strategy to implement your goal in the next year.
- What new things did I learn, that expanded my skills and knowledge?
Who are you becoming? When you look back at who you were at the beginning of the year; what new skills and knowledge have you gained? How did they add value to your work? Learning is a never-ending process that should always be a part of your career journey. If you did not learn any new skills, this likely means that you did not find new ways to improve the way you do things; whether in your work, in how you communicate, how you search for jobs or network, and so forth. This is regressive, and should not be the case in the New Year.
- What mistakes did I make this year, and what did I learn from them?
One of the many ways we are able to become better is by acknowledging our mistakes and taking the initiative to learn from them. Thomas Edison tested 10,000 bulbs to find the one that would light up our world. Here is an article we did that talks about being personally accountable at work. We hope you can also apply this article to other areas of your life.
- What are the areas I need to improve in?
In order to identify your areas of weaknesses, you need to honestly self-assess yourself. If you’re finding this difficult, you can utilize the relationships you have at work, or in your personal life to ask for feedback. Additionally, you can take up self- assessment tests on the internet to help you get a clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses. An example is the 16 personality test that you can take for free.
- How did I step outside my comfort zone this year?
One of the key components of growth is how uncomfortable it can be. Often at times, getting to the next level in your career requires you to put yourself out there in diverse scenarios that may not be as conventional as you would like. This may include things like attending networking events to pitch a partnership as an introvert, or taking on more responsibilities outside of your JD, volunteering on the weekends in order to transition into a new career, and so forth.
- What does success mean to me?
Everyone’s definition of success is relative. For one person; it may be a healthy work-life balance, for the next; it could be a fat bank balance, for the next person; it could be the ability to work remotely as they please, and for another; it could be to become a CEO of an international company. So how do you define success for you? If your career life does not represent this definition, in what ways are you working towards it getting there?
- What changes do I need to make, to have a more fulfilled career life?
In all honesty, how satisfied are you with your career life? Do you not enjoy the work that you do? Are you unhappy with where you are now? Are you not adding value to your current workplace? Are you unaware of what career path you want to take? Now would be a good time to draw up a plan that can change this narrative. It may involve updating your CV and LinkedIn profile to kick off a new job search, taking up online courses to increase your skills, attending a career coaching program, and so on. No clue where to start? Talk to us, our Career Happiness Satisfaction Tool might kick you off in the right direction.
- What are my goals for the next year?
Last but not least, the next step should be to come up with next year’s goals. Take this opportunity to compare how they have changed from the goals you had at the beginning of the year and point out which areas you will need additional support in. As always, your goals should be SMART. If you’re afraid you may not hold yourself accountable to a high degree, now is a good time to seek out a trustworthy accountability partner. Read this article on, 8 ways to help you set and achieve your career goals in the New Year for more context
We hope you found the above questions useful. In addition, we’d like to share with you our recently launched Career Happiness Center where we have a myriad number of tools (articles, videos, checklists) as pertains to job hunting, succeeding in interviews, managing your boss career transition, etc. to help inform your 2020 goals and help you smash them!
As you begin to indulge in the festive season, we leave you with this profound quote by the late Anthony Bourdain; “If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river”.
Happy Festive Season!
Being unemployed is not a great feeling, and asking for help can feel daunting especially because you want to avoid coming across as a burden to others at all costs.
One big potential deal-breaker is how you communicate what you need. No matter what channel you use to ask for help; be it an email, a phone call, messaging someone on LinkedIn, or even just sending a Whatsapp message, you always have to display conciseness and professionalism to clearly showcase your request. As a recruiter, I often receive multiple emails of people who are job searching in my inbox every day. More often than not, the email contains just an attached CV, or several scanned documents of their academic qualifications, with a barely-there request for help, such as; “Find attached”, “Looking for a job”, “Connect me to a job” or just a plain “Hi”. All these are vague statements leave me unaware of how to help you. Which is why you’re reading this article right now.
We’d like to share briefly some of the ways we have witnessed job seekers seek help in a way that’s not useful when job searching:
1. Sending blank emails either with no subject line, or message on the email body and just attaching their CVs. Refer to the first bullet point above.
2. Sending very long emails and attaching a bazillion documents. Attaching your resume, with a short and clear message should do, for as long as it has a call for action.
3. Pestering one to give you an advertised job, even though you’re absolutely not qualified. This is borderline unprofessional and could land you on a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s blacklist.
4. Sharing a CV that is unprofessional, including but not limited to; bad formatting, grammatical errors, too much, or too little information. (watch our YouTube video, to see the top 5 things that will make your CV stand out)
Displaying a strong sense of entitlement; refrain from feeling like you deserve special treatment because you were personally introduced to a recruiter or hiring manager for a certain job opportunity. Always remember that there are others like you who are looking to land that role.
Here are a few tips that will come in handy when requesting for help;
i) Be specific – Anytime, you sent an email, a LinkedIn message, a Whatsapp message, and so forth, don’t shift the onus to the recipient to figure out what you want. Do you want them to introduce you to someone? Looking for an informational interview? Want them to store your CV in their database for future job opportunities? Recommend relevant job groups you can join? Read this article to get a feel of how you can request for help using written communication, which we’re sure you can also apply in in-person conversations (more on Google, of course)
ii) Display enthusiasm – While job searching is a draining process, asking for help shouldn’t be. Let your passion exude in your communication. Showcase your excitement for the next opportunity you want to take up, and the value you will add. This enthusiasm will likely be cascaded down by the recipients to their own networks and good may come out of this. Otherwise, there is no need to have a monotonous conversation that could be misinterpreted to show that you lacked enthusiasm and passion about your own career.
iii) Prioritize your networks – Of importance here, is to have a strong sense of awareness of the career goals you have for yourself so that you know who the right people or networks are, that you should reach out to first. For instance, mapping out the organizations you’re interested to work with and using your LinkedIn profile to see who you’re already connected to there is the first step, followed by messaging them with a clear request for assistance. Here’s an article we wrote about how you can use LinkedIn to land your next job. We also like to insist on the importance of utilizing your weak ties when job hunting. Read the linked article to learn more.
iv) Check-in regularly – Now, we’re not asking you to bombard people with emails or phone calls every other day. However, people are busy, and it’s easy for them to forget to do something you had requested of them. So it’s important that you remind them non-aggressively so that they carry out the request you had for them.
v) Have an accountability partner – It’s very easy to get frustrated, and give up when you’ve tried everything, and nothing works when looking for a job. This is why having an accountability partner could help you not give up easily. Share your goals with them; e.g.: attend X networking events in a certain period of time, reach out to X amount of people on LinkedIn, follow up on X conversations by a certain period, and so on and so on. This sets a precedent that will prevent you from falling into the trap of doing the bare minimum when job hunting.
vi) Consider signing up for career coaching – In extreme scenarios, where you’re not sure where you should start, we highly recommend that you work with a career coach, to help you align your values and interests to a career path that will suit you. It is also an effective way to unpack some of the myths surrounding job searching, shift your mindset and gain clarity on what you want to pursue.
If this has been you/ is you, now you know and we hope you find our tips above useful and reroute your job hunting journey.
Last, but not least, read our blog to see some of the other ways you may be sabotaging your job search
Are you trying to figure out what next steps you should take in your career, and don’t know where to start? Reach out to us today at email@example.com! We’ll act as your thought partner, and help you navigate some of your most pressing career challenges!